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In this video, you will create an outline for your paper.

To do this, you will use a bulleted list to organize your main points in the order you will cover them in your paper.

As you outline, you will also write the main point of your essay, called a “thesis statement” and craft beginning sentences for your paragraphs, called “topic sentences.”

If you write an essay from start to finish without planning, your draft will lack clarity and organization.

An outline is a great way to organize all of your research and thoughts before you write.

It provides structure and helps you include all of the important points.

It also keeps you focused as you write, so you don’t include irrelevant information or repeat points.

You may have outlined other writing projects on paper before.

Writing your outline in a digital document allows you to easily reorder ideas and insert or delete text.

Once you have written your outline in a digital document, you can share it with others to collect feedback.

And you can keep adding to your outline to turn it into a full draft of your paper.

To get started outlining, open your brainstorming document.

If you don’t have a brainstorming or notes document, open a new one.

Go to and open Google Drive.

Create a new, blank document.

Create a section for your outline.

Type “Outline,” and change the heading style to match the other headings in your document.

Then, update your table of contents to reflect the new heading.

A thesis statement is one sentence that says what your paper is about.

A clear thesis states the main points you will write about in your paper, in order.

If you’re writing a paper to respond to a specific question, your thesis statement should answer the question.

You may revise and refine your thesis several times as you work on your paper, so don’t worry about making it perfect right now.

At the top of your “outline” section, type a sentence that describes what your paper is about.

You will refer back to this thesis statement as you write your outline, so make it easy to read.

To do this, highlight the text.

Then, make the font larger.

You could also bold your thesis statement or change the color.

Next, outline the paragraphs for your paper under the thesis statement.

To do this, make a bulleted list.

Type what your first paragraph will be about as the first bullet point.

A good way to organize points in a paper is from most to least important, so you might You might turn that first bullet point into a sentence that states what your paragraph will be about.

This sentence in your outline can later become the first sentence of your paragraph, called the “topic sentence.”

Next, add the specific points you will write about in that paragraph as sub-points in your outline.

These might include evidence from your research, direct quotes, or details that support your topic sentence.

Add several bullet points under each main point in your outline.

To make a sub-bullet under a main bullet point, press “Tab.”

Add bullet points and sub-bullets for topic sentences and supporting details until you have covered all of the points for your paper.

Then, read through your outline.

Make sure you: included all the information you need to cover your topic; did not repeat yourself, add unnecessary information, or miss an important point; created topic sentences that fit with the thesis statement you wrote at the top of your outline.

If a point doesn’t fit with your thesis, you can change the bullet point or modify your essay’s main idea.

To change the order of your points, cut the text and paste it into another section.

This example uses a bulleted list, but you may find other ways to organize your outline.

You could create a concept map in Google drawings.

Or you could create your outline in Google Slides.

Your outline can be brief or extensive.

You could include a few phrases about each section that will help you write your paper.

Or, you might outline all of your topic sentences and supporting points, complete with details from your notes or research.

Develop an outlining process that works best for you.

Writing an outline is like making a plan for your paper.

Including your research in a well-developed outline saves you from some reorganizing and rewriting later.

You can use outlines to organize all kinds of writing projects, like short stories or novels.

Now, it’s your turn: Use a bulleted list to draft an outline of your paper.

Type the main idea of each paragraph -- or full topic sentences -- as bullet points.

Add sub-bullets for supporting points and evidence.

When you have an outline of your main points and supporting evidence, move on to the next video where you will share your outline and get feedback from a partner.

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  1. Use a bulleted list to draft an outline of your paper.
  2. Type the main idea of each paragraph — or full topic sentences — as bullet points.
  3. Add sub-bullets for supporting points and evidence.